Imagine if the only toilet you could easily use was in your own home. That's the reality for thousands of Kiwis with complex or multiple disabilities, who struggle to use disabled or standard public toilets.
Jenn Hooper, whose daughter Charley is profoundly disabled, is on a mission to change that, by building fully accessible public toilets.
Auckland's first "Changing Places" facility had its official open day at Westfield Newmarket on Thursday, which is International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
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The bathroom includes $40,000-worth of specialised gear, mostly imported from Denmark, including height-adjustable toilet and handbasin, and an adult-sized change bed with shower. An electronic ceiling track hoist allows a person to be lifted and move anywhere in the room.
Covering the walls is artwork by Hayley King (Flox).
The room on level 3 of the shopping mall is accessible to registered users only, and includes privacy screens and enough space for two caregivers.
Changing Places facilities were established in Scotland about 14 years ago, and there are now more than 1500 across the United Kingdom, and 150 in Australia.
Hooper established the Changing Places NZ charity to build and run facilities here, and the first opened at Hamilton Gardens. Another will open in north Hamilton, with others planned.
She eventually wants facilities to cover the country, being no more than 10-15 minutes drive away from one another.
That would change the lives of people who can't easily use public toilets, or who are forced to lay down on a dirty floor to change. Hooper estimates about 20,000 people would benefit from the facilities - not to mention their family members and carers.
"The irony with an ordinary disability toilet is you have to be quite able to use one - they are built for people who can self-transfer," she told the Herald.
"Imagine a shopping mall or an airport being built without public toilets - that is us. That is what we have had to put up with."
Changing Places NZ doesn't get government funding, and users pay a membership fee - $120 for a lifetime membership access key fob, under the charitable model. The cost is $250 for people with access to different funding, such as those under ACC.
• For more information visit changingplaces.org.nz